Tom Brady got the better of Drew Brees on Sunday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-20 to secure their place in the NFC Championship.
Bucs vs. Saints was arguably the most-anticipated game so far in the playoffs as it delivered a showdown of two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks approaching the end of their careers. It was also the oldest quarterback matchup in postseason history as Tampa Bay’s Brady (43) and New Orleans’ Brees (42) have the combined age of 85.
The clash of veterans did deliver, but not in the way everyone expected. Instead of the aging quarterbacks, the defenses and running games were on display in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game.
The contest was pretty much even throughout the first three quarters, with both teams managing to put 20 points on the scoreboard and set up a nail-biting final period. Here, the Bucs were the team with better nerves as their defense managed to shut down Brees while Brady and the offense did just enough to seal the game.
The turning point came midway through the fourth quarter when Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White managed to pick off Brees in New Orleans’ territory. The Bucs took the ball on the Saints’ 20 and didn’t have much trouble getting it to the endzone.
Brees threw another interception, his third of the game, on the following drive and cleared any doubts about the winner.
Tom Brady finished the game with 199 passing yards, two TD throws, and one TD rush. He is off to Green Bay next week, where he’ll face the Packers and one more future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers while searching for a shot at his seventh Super Bowl ring.
Drew Brees, on the other hand, managed just 134 yards and one touchdown pass while turning over the ball three times. Brees didn’t offer much info about his future after the game, but he is expected to retire in the next few weeks and start his broadcasting career.